The Plague and Doctor Caim

By G.E. Gallas

A darkly humorous graphic novel about a doctor grappling against the Black Death.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Where does the name "Caim" come from?

 

(Illustration from the "Dictionnaire Infernal" by Collin de Plancy.)

You may be wondering where the name "Caim" comes from. Page one of this graphic novel goes into a little detail about the name, but I will expand upon it here. 

Firstly, Caim is a variation of "Cain," as in the biblical Cain and Abel. As you may know, Cain and Abel were Adam and Eve's first sons and Cain kills Abel in what is believed to be the world's first murder. I thought this association was appropriate for my plague doctor character since his occupation is wrapped up in both life and death.

Secondly, Caim is a demon mentioned in "The Lesser Key of Solomon" (an anonymous 17th-century spell book) and in Collin de Plancy's 19th-century book "Dictionnaire Infernal." In these, Caim is a demon said to give men the ability to understand birds and is depicted as a black bird with a sword. Because of the plague doctor's beak-like mask, I thought this connection was fitting.

Although these two instances are associated with murder and evil, Doctor Caim himself is quite the opposite. The doctor is humble and polite almost to a fault, which I hope readers will find endearing.

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